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Subject: The Best Team


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 22:13:36 02/20/17 Mon
In reply to: mrjames 's message, "Re: What the.....?" on 21:52:05 02/20/17 Mon

Let me say as many positive things about the tournament as possible:

(1) If we're going to have a tournament at all, a four-team tournament is far preferable to an eight-team tournament. Restricting the field to four teams at least makes the "Who will win the fourth spot?" discussion a fun bit of speculation and a meaningful competition, whereas an eight-team field would render the regular season even less meaningful.

(2) Since having the tournament at all is motivated in part by the desire to have "fun," holding the men's and women's tournaments in the same locale and at the same time increases the fun. But this precludes rewarding the #1 seed with home court advantage, except by coincidence, and that's too bad.

(3) One nice thing about the invention of Facebook is getting periodic, though irregular, invitations to be friends from the smoking hot girls in high school, cheerleaders and majorettes, who at the time would not deign to expand their circle of friends beyond the starting backfield of the football team. I just received one tonight and I'm already standing a little taller and a little prouder. Also caught a little wood, too.

(4) I don't define the winner of the 14-game tournament as "best;" I define them as most deserving. Your point, mrjames, is that random variance affects both a 14-game sequence as well as a 2-game sequence, neither of whom are absolutely, positively guaranteed to identify the pure "best" team. **ALL** of sports is not about identifying the "best" team; it's about identifying the most deserving. If the Atlanta Falcons had kicked the 40-yard field goal with two minutes left in the Super Bowl, they still would not have been the best team in the NFL, just the most deserving. As it turned out, they ended up neither.

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[> [> [> Subject: Re: The Best Team


Author:
mrjames
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Date Posted: 07:44:17 02/21/17 Tue

Team A goes 13-1
Team B goes 12-2

Team B dumped a road game early in the league season, because stuff happens, but otherwise A&B split.

In the Ivy tourney, Team A loses in round one. Team B wins twice and nabs the bid. Team A is now 13-2. Team B is 14-2. Who is most deserving?

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: The Best Team


Author:
Bengal
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Date Posted: 11:57:58 02/21/17 Tue

What is your opinion?

In my opinion, it is Team A, clearly. Over the course of seven weeks in which every team starts out in the same place, and plays their opponents twice, once at home and once away, they had the best record. While much of this is a matter of opinion, my opinion is that it is unfair to deprive Team A of the automatic NCAA bid based on one weekend of performance in a league where no men's team has obtained an at-large bid.

And your hypothetical, while interesting in theory, hardly describes the universe of potential outcomes where, in just one example, Team A, at 13-1, loses in a tournament in which a 10-4 team wins the tourney. What is your opinion as to who was most deserving in that case?

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[> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: The Best Team


Author:
Go Green
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Date Posted: 14:11:50 02/21/17 Tue


Even if Team B lost their games because their star player was sidelined with a temporary illness?

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[> [> [> [> [> Subject: Re: The Best Team


Author:
Bengal
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Date Posted: 14:27:26 02/21/17 Tue

Did Team A lose two veteran, senior starters to injury before the Ivy season began? Or did someone flunk out, or get benched for indiscreet behavior on Team A or B? Did Team A, in your hypothetical, lose its tourney game "because their star player was sidelined with a temporary illness?"

At the start of the season, any of these things can happen to any team. They all play 14 games, one at home, one away against each opponent. In a one bid league, it is the fairest way to award a post-season NCAA bid.

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[> [> [> [> Subject: Re: The Best Team


Author:
An Observer
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Date Posted: 14:17:16 02/21/17 Tue

mrjames, in your example, obviously it's a close call to say which of Team A or Team B is most deserving. We're splitting hairs here. But suppose one believes that Team A's second loss is "better" due to it having taken place against a tournament team, potentially a better loss than Team B's random loss. Who's to say that Team A isn't still more deserving?

And if Team A does lose in the tournament, does it deserve another bite at the apple, that is, another chance to beat the tournament winner? After all, Team B got its second chance to mitigate its second loss.

I guess the larger question is, "At what point do you stop counting?" America believes in second chances but then why not a third chance? If two is good, then three must be better, right? Fourteen games afforded every team an opportunity, home and away, even Steven.

I'm the first to concede that, given the looming threats to our free press and the separation of powers in our government, this particular issue does not rise high on the list of my concerns. But the inevitable clash between fairness and "entertainment/fan interest/extending the relevance of last season games for second division teams" just happens to be exacerbated this year because there is a chance -- only a chance -- that a 14-0 regular season champ will have to play a #4 seed on an eight-game winning streak on its home court. I'd rather have the answers to why Trump loves Putin, but the Ivy tournament is also on my mind.

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